Coco Therapy Robot
Coco is a therapeutic robot designed for elderly people in nursing homes or other care facilities.
In today’s society, we are faced with an aging population. Social structures have changed and made it harder for families to take care of their elderly. They often end up in care facilities or living by themselves.
We conducted a survey in a nursing home and interviewed elderly people and their relatives to find out how they deal with this issue. Relatives often have no time to care for them. Loneliness is a serious problem with elderly people. Furthermore many elderly people have physical handicaps such as being bedridden, poor vision or dementia, which makes them think they are not needed anymore. Pets were a popular topic in our interviews with residents. Most residents used to have pets and would like to have one now, but they do not believe they can take care of it themselves, plus nursing homes usually do not allow pets.
Coco is an electronic pet that represents a friend and helper who animates, reminds and motivates its owner. Coco accompanies and entertains its user throughout the day. He has 4 main functions: reading, singing, a calendar function and quiz games and can be operated by voice, remote control or base buttons. Pressure sensors in Coco’s back react to touch triggering a positive feedback. He interacts with its owner on its own initiative, suggesting to read, sing or play. He tries to motivate its owner with positive statements and words of comfort. Coco’s memory and activity settings can be customised by carers or relatives.
Coco was the best year project at the University of Applied Sciences of Darmstadt, Germany. The will be showcased at the Conference of Human Interaction (CHI 2011) in Vancouver, Canada.